Family Congress 2012: Building the Filipino Family

Babies don't come with a manual and so do marriage and parenting. Many in my generation became a husband/wife and a dad/mom without knowing much what's really in store for us. A lot simply relied on what our elders say we should do especially when it comes to newborn care. I'd bet, like me, you'd also say you just kept learning as you went along. 

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I remember when I became pregnant with my first child. The internet, even cellular phones, were not yet popular then. Books on pregnancy and parenting were scarce and expensive. So I resorted to reading pamphlets I got from my OB-Gyne and a Dr. Spock book that my mom had since the '70s. There were not enough resources to brief me on all the right things I should do once the baby comes. In retrospect, I knew I'd prefer having more know how than what I could get my hands on at the time.

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TV shows that discuss relationships became in when Dr. Phil was discovered by Oprah. At least, that's when I believe I started learning more. I already have my four kids at the time and found a lot insights whenever marriage or raising children was talked about. Around 2001, I also discovered a parenting e-group where I got to meet some of the nicest ladies I'm still friends with today. There, we got to share a lot of stuff about our lives and encourage each other whenever one of us is going through some rough patches.

Still, it's different when I hear advice from experts like pediatricians, child psychologists, or marriage counselors. I was fortunate to be able to meet and interview a lot them through my work as a newspaper and magazine contributor. I also got to attend seminars which enriched my knowledge on bringing up kids and nurturing my relationship with my husband.

I am of the belief that we all need to hear what experts have to say. And I'm thankful that there are groups with a vision to help improve relationships among Filipino families. Recently, I attended an event where Ms. Maribel Sison-Dionisio, a well-respected parenting and relationship expert, shared with mommy attendees about the ABCs of Parenting during a bloggers' event held at Fully Booked in Bonifacio High Street.

The talk was like a refresher course for me since I heard Ms. Maribel speak before during a past event and wrote an article about it for Manila Bulletin. You can read that write up, entitled Raising Good Learners, here.

A few months ago, Ms. Maribel had this idea of having a family congress and asked two of her friends to help her. Ms. Fides Reyes, a PR and events organizer, and Ms. Rowie Matti, CEO of the Galileo Enrichment Learning Program, share Ms. Maribel's passion on learning how to be the best parents one can be. Their  sincere vision to help educate other families about relationships and love inspired them to organize the Family Congress 2012: Building the Filipino Family to be held coming August.

Don't stop reading just yet if you are not married yet and/or have no kids! The congress will have a variety of topics that parents, teens, and singles would find very useful. Specifically, we call on:

1. PARENTS who want to: improve on their methods or styles of bringing up their children; validate their parenting style; value and look for ways to bond or show their parent-child relationship; know the value of modern technology and how they can manage it.
2. COUPLES who wish to nurture, maintain, or improve their relationship.
3. TEENS / YOUNG ADULTS who are confused with their emotions and those who are pressured by peers and society.

The organizers shared, “Our vision is to equip every individual with the knowledge and skills they need for their particular relationship stage.” Thus, congress attendees have the freedom to choose one session in the morning and another session in the afternoon from among 10 varied and very interesting topics:

Morning sessions:
1A Migrating and Managing the Digital World by Queena Lee-Chua, Ph.D.
2A Handling the Bully and the Bullied by Honey Carandang, Ph.D.
3A Built for Forever: Preparing Singles for a Lifetime Relationship by Rissa Singson-Kawpeng
4A Teen Talk about Love, Sex, and Dating by Dan and Nabelle Caballes
5A From Wellness to Wholeness (for adults 21 & up) by Harriet Hormillosa, M.A.

Afternoon sessions:
6P Being Friends Forever in Marriage: Learning the Art of Fighting by Allan Dionisio, M.D. & Maribel Dionisio, M.A.
7P Teaching Parents to Talk to Kids & Teens about Sex & Relationship by Michele Alignay, M.A. & Aiza Tabayoyong
8P Managing Teen Emotions by Obet Cabrillas
9P Career, Relationship, and Life Plan for Singles by Pia Nazareno-Acevedo
10P Beyond the Tears: Griefwork by Cathy Babao-Guballa

Aside from attending two sessions, guests will also get to hear inspirational messages from Archbishop Luis Antonio Tagle and motivational speaker Francis Kong. To find out more about the above-mentioned organizers and speakers, you can read their profiles here.

The Family Congress’ mission is to provide a venue for learning by gathering the best experts in the field of psychology, parenting, and relationship to share their knowledge to family members, educators, and organizations in the most effective and simplest way. It happens on August 25, 2012 from 8AM to 5PM at the Valle Verde Country Club, Pasig City. It is presented by The Love Institute in partnership with Galileo Enrichment Learning Program and F.I.D. Event Services.

Early bird rates are: P1300 if you register before April 30; P1400 if you register before June 30. Regular rate is P1500 per attendee. Promo rate: 6+1 (pay for 6, get 1 free based on regular rate). Registration fee is inclusive of seminar fee, meals, and lots of freebies.

For more information, please call 579-0100, 0917-8972903, 0922-2521896, email, follow them on and like

* Special thanks to the following sponsors of the bloggers' event: Fully Booked, Bo's Coffee, Taters, Binalot, and Mommy Mundo.

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